- 1 The Best Cash Back Credit Cards
- 2 Chase Freedom Credit Card $100 Cash Back Bonus with 0% APR
- 3 Use Ebates For Free Cash Back and Get A FREE $10 Cash Back
- 4 Ebates Cashback and $10-$100 Bonus
The Best Cash Back Credit Cards
Latest Update November 1, 2016
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The best cash back credit cards offer at least 2% cash back on certain purchasing categories (one our favorite swings as high as 6% for groceries). Choosing the right card for you comes down to knowing your spending habits, and matching the biggest rewards to your biggest expenses.
A whopping 6% cash back on groceries, coupled with 3% back on gas and department stores, and 1% on everything else makes this card a no-brainer for anyone with mouths to feed and a car to drive.
The secret to getting the most cash out of a cash back credit card is knowing where you spend your money. Many cards offer their highest cash back percentages only for purchases in certain categories, like groceries, restaurants, or gas. And some cards offer those high cash back percentages in categories that rotate every quarter, which means you might not always be able to take advantage of them (like 5% cash back on gas when you don’t own a car).
It’s necessary to get really familiar with your spending habits before you apply for a cash back card. We recommend using a personal finance app like Mint or YNAB to track your spending by category — then you can use those learnings as a roadmap to the card that will give you the most for your money.
Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express Earn 6% cash back on groceries, 3% on gas and department stores, and 1% on everything else.
That card might very well be the Blue Cash Preferred® Card from American Express, which gets an unbeatable 6% back on up to $6,000 of groceries per year, 3% on gas and department stores, and 1% on everything else. Those rewards are good enough that, if your spending habits align, you can likely pay off its $95 annual fee and still have more cash back than any other card.
Some of our other top picks include the Chase Freedom®, the Discover it® Cashback Match™, and the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card, which all offer 5% cash back on categories that rotate each quarter, and 1% on everything else. These cards are great if your spending habits are varied: you may get 5% back on gas during the summer months of road trips and then 5% back on Amazon.com during holiday shopping.
If you can max out your rewards, the Discover it® Cashback Match™ is the better bet — at the end of your first year, Discover matches all the cash back you’ve earned. If you’re a smaller spender, the Chase Freedom® is a good option; it gives a nice $150 cash back even if you only spend $500 in the first three months. (It also makes the perfect second card to pair with another high-rewards card, like the Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card — but more on that later.) We like the U.S. Bank Cash+™ Visa Signature® Card if you have some consistency in your expenses: you get to choose one “everyday” category (groceries, for example) that earns an unlimited 2% back in addition to the 5% and 1% rewards already baked into the card.
How We Chose the Best Cash Back Cards
We looked at over 25 of the top cash back cards and started comparing numbers, looking at their cash back categories and ranking them by whether they offered higher, or lower, rewards percentages than their competitors.
Is a card that offers the very highest cash back percentage automatically the best? Not always. Like we mentioned, if a card’s biggest perks are in a category you don’t shop in often, you’ll miss out. And, there’s always the risk you might start justifying purchases you can’t afford just because you want to earn extra cash back.
Overall, though, yes: The cards with the highest rewards in categories that align with your spending habits are the best cards for you. These cards often cap how much cash back you can earn; if you hit your max, you’ll earn less cash back on future purchases — often just 1% cash back per dollar spent. Even so, you’ll still likely earn more than if you get a credit card with a flat cash back rate across all purchases.
Picking the right card for you is going to require some math, so we’ve put together some charts to help you understand just how much cash you might earn from each of the top cards if you max out their cash back offers. Not everybody will earn that maximum cash back, but it’s a good point of comparison as you decide which one is right for you.
Chase Freedom Credit Card $100 Cash Back Bonus with 0% APR
Open a Chase Freedom Credit Card and get $100 $50 Cash Back when you make qualifying transactions over $500 or more during the first 3 months of account opening. Chase Freedom card also comes with 0% intro APR for 6 months or 12 months depending on your credit history.
[Update: $100 Cash Bonus is Expired – The Current Offer is $50 Bonus]
The card always earn 1% cash back with 3% cash back on rotating categories each quarter and up to 10% cash back on selected merchants.
Use Ebates For Free Cash Back and Get A FREE $10 Cash Back
Do you shop online?
If the answer to that is yes, which, let’s face it, it’s definitely a yes, then you should be using Ebates. At this point you are probably wondering, what the heck is Ebates?
Like the name suggests, it is an online rebate system, offering members cashback whenever they make purchases at brands like Bed, Bath, & Beyond, Hollister, Barneys New York, and many more. The company focuses on online shopping and has been around in some form since 1999. It was founded by two attorneys, both of whom specialized in prosecuting online fraud. Since inception, they’ve given out more than $50 million in cashback to their members.
Imagine going about your business on Amazon, you’ve placed a brand-new Kindle in your cart. Once you’ve completed your purchase you receive a handy cashback courtesy of Ebates. Pretty slick.
Not only that, but for a short time, Ebates will give new members $10 back when they make purchases of at least $25 within three months of becoming a member. It’s not simply a cashback system either. Ebates allows members to use coupons, promo codes and discounts to further maximize savings.
Alright, so it’s easy to think that an online rebate website is preying on would-be suckers. How do they make money if they are continuously giving money out to people? Do they just plaster their websites with annoying ads and popups?
Again, no. You’re right to be wary, especially when it comes to paid survey sites or any website offering rewards to members. Take a second to look through the site and you will see that it is clean, user-friendly, and transparent. Not only that but the company is accredited through the Better Business Bureau and holds the highest rating, an A+.
The way Ebates makes money is through affiliate referrals. You know how your favorite podcasts will sometimes ask you to shop using their Amazon affiliate link? It’s the same idea, just on steroids.
Using Ebates effectively
The beautiful thing about using Ebates is that it is 100% passive income. Unlike paid survey sites, you don’t have to go out of your way, or actually do any work, to earn income. You simply go about your business as usual and everytime you purchase something online, you receive cash back.
Take a look at the cashback percentages you can earn at major brands and websites.
It works very similarly to how cashback does on a major credit card. In fact, if you pair Ebates with a cashback credit card, you can double-dip. Cashback cards typically offer between 1% and 6% in rewards, and one of the best cashback credit cards is the Chase Freedom card, boasting a 5% cashback on certain categories. Combine the cashback on Ebates with cashback on a good credit card and you get as much as 12% back in some cases.
Finally, don’t forget about the coupons. Stacking coupons on top of your purchases will only increase your savings so make sure to use all that Ebates has to offer. It’s dead simple too. While some cashback sites issue the money you earned as “points”, Ebates gives you cold, hard cash with no strings attached.
Sign up for free and get a $10 bonus in the form of an gift card or cash bonus when you join today.
Ebates Cashback and $10-$100 Bonus
Our holiday cash back series continues this week with Ebates!
This year, during our holiday cash back series, we’re highlighting our favorites! Don mentioned that he likes to stick with Ebates.
Apparently, I use Ebates a lot too… I just logged into my account and saw that I earned over $750 in cash back from using ebates for shopping last holiday season!
Since Ebates offers a sign up bonus and a huge referral bonus in addition to cash back for online shopping, it also moves higher up on my list.
How to Get Your $10 Ebates Sign Up Bonus
- Sign up for an Ebates account.
- Make your first $25 purchase using Ebates.
- You’ll get a $10 gift card bonus for Macy’s, Kohl’s, Walmart or Target.
How to Get Your $100 Ebates Bonus
Typically, you can earn $5 for each friend you refer to Ebates who makes a $25 purchase. However, during the holiday season this year (October 1- December 31), they are running extra referral bonuses. Here’s how to get extra bonuses:
- Refer one friend to Ebates to earn $5.
- Refer two friends to Ebates to earn $50.
- Refer three friends to Ebates to earn $100.
The bonuses for the third friend have gone up a lot. Last holiday season it was $75 for three friends. Hopefully, everyone can find three friends or family members. To qualify for the referral, friends have one year after sign up to make their $25 purchase online! You cannot self-refer, but I have successfully referred my spouse.
Here’s more from Kate on Ebates if you aren’t familiar with the program:
Ebates is a site that allows you to click through to popular online retailers and earn cash back in the process. For example, if you want to buy a sweater at J. Crew, you can go to J. Crew’s site and just buy it.
But, even better, you can go to Ebates.com, click through to J. Crew’s site from there and receive 5% of your purchase back into your Ebates account. Then, once each quarter Ebates will send you a check or deposit your cash back into your PayPal account, as long as your account balance is over $5.
What are some of the stores I can shop at?
There are over 1,800 stores you can shop at through Ebates and they run the gamut. For example, you can use it to buy clothes from Banana Republic, flowers from FTD, books from Barnes and Noble or jewelry at Blue Nile!
How can I earn even more cash back?
Bonus Cash Back. Especially during the holidays, for example, on Black Friday, Ebates tends to run specials for double cash back or more which means you can really benefit from timing a big purchase you were going to make anyway. For example, Walgreens usually offers 4% cash back but can go as high as 8%.